A sleeve gastrectomy is a form of weight-loss surgery, which sees approximately 80 per cent of the stomach removed by surgeons.
There are four types of gastrectomy: total, partial, sleeve and oesophagogastrectomy. A gastrectomy is often performed to treat stomach cancer, but it also used for other reasons such as treating life-threatening obesity.
How is it performed?
When a surgeon performs a sleeve gastrectomy, they cut the abdomen in order to remove the left side of the stomach. Usually, this is done using keyhole surgery. The surgeon then pulls the remaining part of the stomach upwards and stitches it back up, creating a smaller, longer stomach.
Because a sleeve gastrectomy significantly reduces the stomach’s size, patients find they cannot eat as much as before the surgery and will feel full quicker. This can help contribute to long-term weight loss, and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight, as less food will generally be consumed.
However, it is crucial to realise that simply having a sleeve gastrectomy will not solve weight problems. It must be combined with healthy lifestyle changes, which means following a balanced diet, having controlled portion sizes and getting regular exercise.
People who undergo a sleeve gastrectomy may find they have to eat smaller but more frequent meals compared to before the surgery, but they should ensure they do not continue bad habits such as overeating.
Is a sleeve gastrectomy safe?
All types of surgery carry risks, and a sleeve gastrectomy is no exception. Infections, bleeding and leaking can all occur, and it may lead to difficulties absorbing essential vitamins. Your doctor and surgeon will be able to answer any questions you have on the subject of a sleeve gastrectomy.